In what must have been unusual survey design–178,000 person Providence, RI makes the top 5 in 5 major categories–the readers of Travel and Leisure Magazine have chosen their favorite American cities.
The print magazine presents six main areas of urban competition: People (good-looking, smart, stylish, etc.), Food, Quality of Life (whatever that is), Shopping, Culture, and Nightlife, and within each 4 categories. Thus, in food: cafes, fine dining, ethnic food, and barbecue (the winner: Kansas City). In each category, the magazine lists the top five cities. Philadelphia did not make top five in any of the Food, People, Quality of Life, Shopping, or Nightlife categories; however, this city made top five in all four categories in Culture, including Classical Music (#2), Museums (#5), Theater (#5), and Historical Sites/Monuments (#1), and was voted overall #1 city for culture in America.
The folks at the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance are no doubt grinning ear to ear.
But alas, the nation’s travel magazine readers find other things to like, as revealed on the magazine’s website: Philadelphia is #6 for fine dining, #5 for diversity, #4 for micro brews and pizza, #2 for street food and hamburgers, and is #1 most sports crazed (or delusional?).
These, by the way, are the rankings given by visitors. What’s interesting is the difference between visitor and resident rankings: in every case visitors rank this city better than residents do, and often by a wide margin. I suppose the insidious inferiority complex persists, at least on the part of the affluent, who are certainly the readers of T&L.
Just out of curiosity, I had a look at the visitor/resident breakdown for New York. Well more than half the time New Yorkers rank their city higher than visitors do, and dare I say, much of the time they are right.